The Refugee Foundation will support Polish organizations that provide assistance to migrants who are stuck on the eastern border with Belarus. This concerns both financial and psychological support for local aid workers. A donation campaign is started in the Netherlands.
The support goes to two umbrella organizations that operate outside the so-called no-go zone, and to residents in the closed border area who try to offer help. According to the Refugee Foundation, they are well organized, but are under great pressure from the Polish authorities.
Director Tineke Ceelen has “the greatest possible respect” for the Polish aid workers. “They are young, brave volunteers who are trying to help people in dire need,” she said NOS Radio 1 News. They risk being prosecuted and punished for this, because aid workers are officially not allowed to enter the area. There are currently no international aid organizations active in the border region.
Poland has declared a state of emergency in the border area with Belarus. As a result, in addition to aid organizations, journalists are also not welcome in the area. The exact extent of the suffering and the amount of migrants in the area is therefore unclear, says Ceelen.
Cold winter months
It is clear, however, that the appalling situation of the migrants who are trapped is not over, says Ceelen. Today falls the first snow of the season, in the coming winter months it can be -15 degrees at night. This puts the migrants bivouacking in the forests in mortal danger.
Groups of migrants queue for food in the cold: